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  • Former coach faces further child-porn charges

  • ASouthern Oregon gymnastics teacher and sports photographer is back in jail, facing Measure 11 child pornography charges.
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  • ASouthern Oregon gymnastics teacher and sports photographer is back in jail, facing Measure 11 child pornography charges.
    Jeffrey Scott Bettman, 54, was arrested early Wednesday morning at his Phoenix-area home, after being indicted by a Jackson County grand jury Tuesday afternoon on 10 counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, and 10 counts each of first- and second-degree encouraging child sex, for a total of 30 counts, authorities say.
    Using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory-minimum sentence of 70 months. If found guilty and sentenced to consecutive terms, Bettman would be facing almost 60 years in prison.
    Bettman was being held on $2 million bail, an amount that reflects the seriousness of the alleged crimes, said Detective Josh Nieminen, of the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force.
    Bettman coached gymnastics at the Southern Oregon Gymnastics Academy and the shuttered Rogue Valley School of Gymnastics during the past decade.
    He most recently coached at Ultimate Sports Gymnastics in Grants Pass. Bettman also was a sports photographer.
    Bettman allegedly took videos of students while they were changing their clothes for private photo sessions at the gymnastics businesses over the past nine years. The images were taken without the victims' consent or knowledge, Nieminen said.
    The images that led to the Measure 11 charges involved 10 separate underage victims and were created by Bettman for display in the production of child pornography, said Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Adam Peterson.
    Nieminen said police still are searching to determine whether there are more victims. But the detective stressed that only those students who booked private photo sessions with Bettman need to be concerned.
    "As long as they didn't book a private photo shoot with (Bettman), they should be safe," Nieminen said.
    Bettman was one of several people targeted in an October sting operation after police discovered Bettman's Internet address had downloaded child pornography images.
    Once investigators realized Bettman's connection to the gymnastics clubs, he became a primary focus of the task force investigation, officials said.
    A search of Bettman's home and computer identified the presence of what appeared to be child pornography created by Bettman in the form of videos of gymnasts changing their clothes, investigators said. The videos were found in several locations in Bettman's residence in the 1800 block of Camp Baker Road, just west of Phoenix, police said.
    Bettman originally faced 10 counts each of first- and second-degree encouraging child sex abuse and 10 counts of invasion of privacy. He was released from jail in November after a family member posted the required $25,000 on his $250,000 bail. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Bloom required Bettman to stay away from minors, potential victims and the gymnastics facilities in Grants Pass and Medford, court records show.
    Those 20 counts of encouraging child sex abuse pertained to child pornography that Bettman had downloaded from the Internet and shared. The images were not of local children, and are unrelated to the images he created from the photo sessions, Nieminen said.
    Prosecutors on Tuesday presented the evidence in the case to a grand jury, which indicted Bettman on the new charges, Peterson said.
    Bettman has an arraignment hearing set for 9 a.m. Friday before Judge Tim Gerking, court records show.
    Before coming to Southern Oregon, Bettman was a gymnastics teacher for more than 20 years for the Santa Barbara Spirals, a youth gymnastics team once run by the University of California at Santa Barbara.
    A civil complaint was filed against Bettman and the University of California Regents, the university system board, in July 2000, according to an online case index from Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
    The complaint was for sexual abuse, according to University of California Regents meeting minutes from September 2000.
    The case went to trial and the court dismissed the charges, a representative from the Regents said in November.
    Bettman left Santa Barbara shortly after he was sued in 2000 and coached at the Southern Oregon Gymnastics Academy in Medford from 2003 to 2008, when he was fired for undisclosed reasons.
    Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or sspecht@mailtribune.com.
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